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Easiest Side Dish Ever…works with pasta or potatoes!

Updated on October 8, 2008

No special ingredients to buy....use what you have on hand!


This is a "beginner" dish that is so simple you'll use it at least once a week. You can use variations of oils and herbs to change and charge the flavor base.

Not a lot of measuring is required; you'll figure out how you like it best. I always recommend using cookware and storage containers of glass, or stoneware. Stovetop cook in stainless steel, cast iron, or enameled pots. Nonstick cookware is okay, but can flake and leach chemicals into your food. Plastic storage containers are iffy in my book...and I never reheat food in the microwave in plastic containers.

4 to 5 cups of cooked pasta, or cooked potatoes (cut the taters up in large-ish bite size pieces. You can use any kind of pasta, or potatoes. Rotinni, or penne, large shells....any bite sized is best. And I do not peal the potatoes since the skin has nutrients. But you can peal if you like. This dish is company-fabulous with Yukon Gold potatoes, red potatoes....but any will do.)

While pasta or potatoes are a large glass bowl ¼ to 1/3 cup olive oil and ¼ to 1/3 cup butter. . In a pinch canola oil will do...or all butter or all oil.

Finely mince as many cloves of garlic as you like, to taste, I use about 4 cloves. Add to the oil & butter, making sure the oil is covering it

Heat in microwave at power level 5 just until the butter is melted and it sizzles just a little....only a few seconds. The butter will not easily scorch when combined with an oil.

Remove from microwave and add dried or fresh green herbs of just about any kind. Mix till coated with oil. For pasta and potatoes basil and oregano work well...also dill, parsley, savory, thyme, tarragon. For pasta you can also use parsley, a little shredded fresh ginger and tablespoon of sesame oil. Be generous with the least two tablespoons of dried herbs. And you can mix them up...basil & oregano work well together.

Heat in the microwave just 30 seconds at a time until herbs are plumped up and garlic softened. Let sit to meld the flavors.

Add cooked, drained pasta or potatoes and mix well to coat. The potatoes will break down a little but that is okay, really sucks up the flavors.

Cover with a plate until the rest of your meal is can reheat in the microwave. You can also add a bit more oil or butter and fresh herbs if needed.

You can also add some grated parmesan cheese to the pasta to zest it up. Or add sautéed veggies and mushrooms...just a few...very colorful. Add cooked shrimp or left-over cubed or shredded chicken and you've got a main dish.

Stores well as a left-over and is great with just a salad for dinner. It's all fresh, no preservatives, inexpensive and quick to make...and will even suit your vegetarian pallet.



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    • Paul Kennedy profile image

      Paul Kennedy 7 years ago from New York

      You know I think your going to get me to start cooking. Frozen side dishes are probably much worse then I think. I wish I picked up the computer years ago. Just no time then. So glad this door opened.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      very nice easy to make. checkout my hub with simple recipe

    • Mary Tinkler profile image

      Mary Tinkler 9 years ago from Gresham

      You'll get raves, and everyone thinks it's a lot more work to make than it actually is. Beats the heck out of those packaged side dishes that are never quite enough for a family, but too much for one or two people. This dish is cheaper, tastier, and chemical additives. If you store the potato version, you can also fry it up quickly for a breakfast alternative to hash browns....let it brown a bit in a dash of oil in the pan.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      I love easy. I'll be trying this one.